(SAN FRANCISCO)— Twitter Inc on Thursday accused Russian media outlets Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik of interfering in the 2016 U.S. election and banned them from buying ads on its network, after criticism the social network had not done enough to deter international meddling.
RT and Sputnik condemned the decision, saying Twitter had encouraged ad spending with its sales tactics, while Russia’s foreign ministry said the ban was due to U.S. government pressure and that it planned to retaliate.
San Francisco-based Twitter said in an unsigned statement on its website that election meddling is “not something we want” on the social network. It cited a report this year from U.S. intelligence agencies and said it had also done its own investigations of RT and Sputnik.
“We did not come to this decision lightly, and are taking this step now as part of our ongoing commitment to help protect the integrity of the user experience on Twitter,” the company said.